Lawrence wrapped up its 150th birthday celebration in grand fashion Sunday with the burial of a time capsule, music, an American Indian ceremony and the release of 100 white doves.
"It was a very fitting end to this and a great way to start the next 50 years," said Ken Pine, moments after the festivities ended at Sesquicentennial Point, near the Clinton Lake dam.
Pine's wife, Rowena Pine, agreed.
"It was wonderful," she said. "The doves were something else. That was a very special touch."
More than 100 people gathered at the point, which is comprised of about 1,600 acres of rolling open grounds mixed with clumps of trees. The focal point is a hill where the time capsule was buried in a vacuum-sealed vault donated by Warren-McElwain Mortuary.
Throughout the afternoon people contributed items to the capsule that included letters, hats, brochures and even family mementos, to mention just a few.
Connie Richardson left a family picture in the capsule. She was accompanied by two of her daughters, Alison, 14, and Melissa, 12. They planned to be there at the capsule's reopening.
"I hope I am," Connie said. "The kids should be."
They are counting on it. Melissa left a letter predicting what Lawrence would be like in the future. The biggest change, she said, will be "more people."
After the capsule was sealed it was slowly lowered into the vault while the official Sesquicentennial band, Junkyard Jazz, played "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" in various tempos and dozens of adults and children gathered around to watch.
The event at the point capped a year of events with special focus on those taking place last week, especially Saturday's downtown parade and birthday party in South Park.
The birthday party's conclusion also marked the official start of an effort to make Sesquicentennial Point the symbol of Lawrence's future. A plaza at the site will feature a walkway with commemorative stones for each of the city's years, from 1854 to the present, and an outdoor amphitheater.
Officials estimate the cost of building the plaza area alone will be about $500,000. Already $77,000 has been raised, said Jerry Niebaum, vice president of the Sesquicentennial Commission. Chuck Warner, president of US Bank, was introduced by Niebaum as the fund-raising campaign chairman.
"This will be a little different than it is now in 50 years," Warner said.
Individuals or groups wanting to buy a stone for the walkway will pay the price of the date, for example 1921 would cost $1,921.
Mayor Mike Rundle called the point a gift to future generations of Lawrence residents and then noted that the city and Sesquicentennial Commission were claiming the stone for 2004 in honor of Clenece Hills, president of the commission. The stone will have her name on it with that of the commission.
"It is a credit to her confidence in this community that has made the year the great success that it is," Rundle said.
Hills said she hoped the point will be a location for annual events.
"What a wonderful thing to have a gathering at this site every year until we open the time capsule in 50 years," she said.